Early reactions to Annihilation are here and it looks like Alex Garland has another sci-fi hit on his hands

When it comes to upcoming sci-fi film Annihilation, those who were concerned about the movie’s success can relax now. The first reactions are in and they aren’t just positive. They are great.

The members of the press who saw the film too to social media on Thursday to share their initial reactions. Critics praised the intelligence of the sci-fi film, its cast the visuals, and the work of writer/director Alex Garland.

Lena, a biologist and former soldier, joins a mission to uncover what happened to her husband inside Area X – a sinister and mysterious phenomenon that is expanding across the American coastline. Once inside, the expedition discovers a world of mutated landscape and creatures, as dangerous as it is beautiful, that threatens both their lives and their sanity.

Based on Jeff VanderMeer’s novel Annihilation, the film stars Natalie Portman as Lena with Oscar Issac playing her husband. Tessa Thompson, Jennifer Jason Leigh, and Gina Rodriguez are also part of the cast.

“Annihilation” Scores Rave Early Reactions

There were real concerns about how the film would be received. There were concerns that the film was “too intellectual” and “too complicated” and the idea of making changes in order to increase the film’s appeal according to The Hollywood Reporter. The studio ended up making a distribution deal with Netflix, who will now handle its international release.

Going by the reviews those concerns could have been unwarranted. One review said the film was “the kind of brainy sci-fi we don’t see enough of” while another called it a “masterpiece.”

#Annihilation is big budget Alex Garland with all the head-spinning intelligence of "Ex Machina." It's violent and patient and then suddenly so transfixing you're pinned to your seat. It'll take time to process. Another auteur studio gamble from Paramoint after "mother!"

#ANNIHILATION: This is the type of sci-if we always say we want to see. Bold, challenging, singular, visually dazzling. Would not be the least bit surprised to see it hailed as a masterpiece (and it might actually be one).

ANNHILATION is, in wholly inelegant terms, one hell of a mindfuck. Most of the time, I didn't want it to end; occasionally, I was so unsettled I thought I might keel over.

Alex Garland’s #Annihilation is another example of the kind of brainy sci-fi we don’t see enough of. Badass female cast and a story that’s both beautiful and wickedly disturbing, and an ending you will talk about for days. Dug it so much pic.twitter.com/fW77z6xX4v

Garland’s last sci-fi movie was Ex Machina, another smart and boundary-pushing science fiction film. Annihilation provided the opportunity for him to make another great film with a larger budget, which apparently became a gamble that concerned the studio.

Interestingly, the Southern Reach trilogy, which Annihilation is a part of, provided longtime science fiction author VanderMeer with his biggest crossover success. As part of the genre-melding splitstream, novels that bringing together different genres, VanderMeer’s three installments all made their way onto best-seller lists. While he had been published sci-fi tales for some time, the trilogy was the first of his novels to be marketed to a wider audience.

“There are people who just will not read something about a fantastical city,” he said. “They will read something set in some approximation of Florida…It’s kind of the rate of strangeness that readers will allow,” VanderMeer said.

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When it comes to upcoming sci-fi film Annihilation, those who were concerned about the movie’s success can relax now. The first reactions are in and they aren’t just positive. They are great.

The members of the press who saw the film too to social media on Thursday to share their initial reactions. Critics praised the intelligence of the sci-fi film, its cast the visuals, and the work of writer/director Alex Garland.

Lena, a biologist and former soldier, joins a mission to uncover what happened to her husband inside Area X – a sinister and mysterious phenomenon that is expanding across the American coastline. Once inside, the expedition discovers a world of mutated landscape and creatures, as dangerous as it is beautiful, that threatens both their lives and their sanity.

Based on Jeff VanderMeer’s novel Annihilation, the film stars Natalie Portman as Lena with Oscar Issac playing her husband. Tessa Thompson, Jennifer Jason Leigh, and Gina Rodriguez are also part of the cast.

There were real concerns about how the film would be received. There were concerns that the film was “too intellectual” and “too complicated” and the idea of making changes in order to increase the film’s appeal according to The Hollywood Reporter. The studio ended up making a distribution deal with Netflix, who will now handle its international release.

Going by the reviews those concerns could have been unwarranted. One review said the film was “the kind of brainy sci-fi we don’t see enough of” while another called it a “masterpiece.”

#Annihilation is big budget Alex Garland with all the head-spinning intelligence of "Ex Machina." It's violent and patient and then suddenly so transfixing you're pinned to your seat. It'll take time to process. Another auteur studio gamble from Paramoint after "mother!"

#ANNIHILATION: This is the type of sci-if we always say we want to see. Bold, challenging, singular, visually dazzling. Would not be the least bit surprised to see it hailed as a masterpiece (and it might actually be one).

ANNHILATION is, in wholly inelegant terms, one hell of a mindfuck. Most of the time, I didn't want it to end; occasionally, I was so unsettled I thought I might keel over.

Alex Garland’s #Annihilation is another example of the kind of brainy sci-fi we don’t see enough of. Badass female cast and a story that’s both beautiful and wickedly disturbing, and an ending you will talk about for days. Dug it so much pic.twitter.com/fW77z6xX4v

Garland’s last sci-fi movie was Ex Machina, another smart and boundary-pushing science fiction film. Annihilation provided the opportunity for him to make another great film with a larger budget, which apparently became a gamble that concerned the studio.

Interestingly, the Southern Reach trilogy, which Annihilation is a part of, provided longtime science fiction author VanderMeer with his biggest crossover success. As part of the genre-melding splitstream, novels that bringing together different genres, VanderMeer’s three installments all made their way onto best-seller lists. While he had been published sci-fi tales for some time, the trilogy was the first of his novels to be marketed to a wider audience.

“There are people who just will not read something about a fantastical city,” he said. “They will read something set in some approximation of Florida…It’s kind of the rate of strangeness that readers will allow,” VanderMeer said.

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The real question now was whether Garland could recapture that genius on his second project, which — like Machina — he wrote and directed. If you were worrying that he might have been a one-hit wonder, your fears are unfounded. Early reactions to Annihilation have begun to surface, and they universally praise it as profound and visually stunning, with enough brains and strong female characters to stick with you long after the credits have rolled. 

Natalie Portman, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Gina Rodriguez, Tessa Thompson, and Tuva Novotny star as an expedition team venturing into The Shimmer, a mysterious disaster zone where life mutates beyond imagination. Paramount Pictures will distribute the movie in the U.S. and China while Netflix handles the rest of the world. 


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